The 2021 NAHL Draft has come and gone, with the Maryland Black Bears taking seven players overall, including one familiar face returning to The Den for the 2021-22 season.
With the 18th pick in the first round, the Black Bears picked forward Tyler Young from the Islanders HC of the NCDC. Young is committed to Providence College, but has quite the past for where he’s played. Along with Islanders HC– where he had 14 points in 15 games, Young played in 16 games with the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL. In 2019-20, Young was in the BCHL with the Wenatchee Wild, potting 28 assists and 37 points in 56 games.
In the second round, Maryland picked defenseman Nolan Hayes with the 43rd pick. Hayes also comes from the NCDC with the South Shore Kings, where he had 19 points from the blueline in 35 games. Hayes also comes from the vaunted Cushing Academy, where he had 20 assists and 30 points in 2019-20. Hayes is committed to Sacred Heart University.
Staying in the second round– as well as the NCDC and a defender– Matthew Davies was the 47th pick. Coming up in the Omaha AAA program, Davies moved to the New Jersey Rockets last season, with 15 points in 42 games. Part of a hockey family, Davies’ grandfather Dave played three seasons for St. Louis University, his father Dan played four seasons for Air Force Academy, and his brother Andruw is coming up through the Islanders HC program in the USPHL.
A familiar face in the third round, as Miles Gunty was picked 71st overall by Maryland. Gunty appeared in four games for the Black Bears last year, and while he didn’t register an official point, his shootout goal in the last home game, coupled with his energy for that entire series gave a good outlook on what’s to come for the Black Bears this season. Gunty, a Brown University commit, also spent time with Youngstown in the USHL and Team Maryland’s 16U program.
Maryland then went back to a familiar country, as Sweden’s pipeline continues with the selection of Ivan Bjorkly Nordstrom in the 5th round. The forward comes from the Malmo Redhawks’ program and put up six goals and 12 points in 16 games last season. Nordstrom holds dual Swedish and Scottish citizenship, as he was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. With his size and skill, many think he has an outside chance of being selected in the NHL Draft.
[Editor’s Note: In an earlier version, I listed Nordstrom’s height. Elite Prospects and Dobber’s Hockey listed Nordstrom as 6’7, 216; while Malmo has him listed at 6’3, 211. We’ll have to see when he shows up to camp.]
The Black Bears also picked a goalie in the 5th round, with Luca Di Pasquo being selected 126th. Limited time for Di Pasquo this season with the Robertson Cup champions in Shreveport; but he does comes out of the Detroit youth scene, playing for Honeybaked, Victory Honda, and Compuware– three of the four heavy-hitters in that area.
With their last pick, the Black Bears when with Connor Bennett in the 6th round, 155th overall. Playing with the Peoria Mustangs in the NA3HL, Bennett had 14 goals and 29 points on the season, while accumulating 101 points in 133 games in the NA3. With plenty of potential, he could be a nice sleeper pick to provide some impact in the line-up.